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There are 11,400,000 disabled persons in Russia
There are 11,400,000 disabled persons in Russia, according to Valery Voyevodin with the Social Protection Department of the Russian Ministry's of Health and Social Development, who spoke at a conference in Moscow on Thursday. The conference is sponsored by the European Union (EU) and dedicated to bolstering Russia's efforts to re-integrate the disabled into society. "To date, the number of the disabled people in Russia keeps on growing, totaling 11,400,000. There is a high rate of invalid among children - 685,000," Mr. Voyevodin said. According to him, in 1992, the disabled in Russia numbered 4.7 million, including 268,000 children. Over 1,200,000 Russians become disabled annually, with 95-97% of them to remain disabled forever. Under the program aimed to replace benefits and privileges with money payments, the principal criterion of monetary compensation for the disabled will become a person's degree of disability in 2006, the spokesman for the Social Protection Department said. According to Mr. Voyevodin, 2005 will see the federal budget allocating money for a set of social services as well, e.g. additional medicine, health resort treatment and fare to health resorts. In his opening remarks, Marc Franco, head of the European Commission's Russian office, said that the event was focused on exchanging expertise and re-integrating the disabled into full-fledged life. RIA Novosti has learnt that the European Commission plans to launch two major disabled rehabilitation projects in Russia next year, earmarking $8 million to this end.
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